ET: Natl Health Svce may call in Army if disaster hits Millennium : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

From the Electronic Telegraph:

ISSUE 1421, Friday 16 April 1999

NHS may call in Army if disaster hits Millennium, By Celia Hall, Medical Editor

THE NHS could call in the military if a "worst case" Millennium disaster stretched health services beyond their limit, planners said yesterday.

While there is no national plan to involve the military, hospitals are discussing the possibility of using military medical services, experts in emergency medicine told a conference in London. Hospitals in major centres are planning to stop all non-urgent work over the New Year holiday to cope with the expected rise in emergency admissions resulting from the festivities as well as seasonal illness. At outside events there will be heavy reliance on the Red Cross and St John Ambulance.

Drugs companies are building stocks of supplies needed in emergency departments as well as extra supplies of emergency contraceptives, according to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.

Chris Gundry, Department of Health emergency planning adviser, said: "It is important to say that the health service has been working very hard to address the challenge for the past 2.5 years. "The main fear has been systems failure but what is emerging is how robust our staffing will be if we are at full stretch. We have to make sure we don't fall down due to understaffing," he said.

Mr Gundry said the military would only be called upon in extreme life-saving circumstances. "We are not expecting to depend on wholesale military support across the board," he said.

A main problem with planning is unticketed events when numbers cannot be calculated. At the 50th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco in 1987, about 100,000 were expected but 800,000 turned up.

Planners expect casualty rates to double at events where alcohol is available. The Department of Health said yesterday that it would not provide extra money for staff overtime and holiday working. A circular urged employers to stress the tradition of public service. Hospitals can make one-off payments if they choose.

Cut and pasted by

-- Old Git (, April 15, 1999


Wow. Imagine asking Americans to work New Year's Evil New Millennium for no overtime or holiday extra! Also, what city will be stupid enough to stage huge 'uncalculated' parties that night with alcohol? (Uh, most of them!). Just imagine the logistics ...

Wonder how many Yourdynamites will stay home, shuttered and safe, with everything unplugged so it doesn't fry, but tempted to get online here to see what's happening!

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-- Leska (, April 16, 1999.

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